'Manarah' - a limited edition bookarts magazine
Annette C. Disslin, Germany
|Even though I myself have seen a life
without war the days of my childhood and youth have been marked
by wars mainly for religious reasons going on and on for decades
e.g. in Ireland or in the Near East. I have always wondered how
many generations of children were born and grew up never knowing
what peace and a free live would be like, living with it being part
of every day's life to loose a friend, sister, father or beloved.
What I felt utterly worried about was, that it must be hard for
somebody who grew up like this, not to fall for hatred but withstand
it, refuse to become violent and fight for an understanding in peace
and for winning without a war. Still, in all these war struck places
there have always been people holding on to the vision of a life
of peace and freedom and, for sure, many of those hoping for and
believing in peace and freedom in times of war are readers.
The writings of poets and philosophers, be they religious, poetry
or prose, over the centuries have always given guidance to people.
In times of catastrophes, epidemics or wars reading can give hope,
open up a window into a future that might be darkened by the time
being but be bound to brighten up some time. Books and magazines,
notes, handwritten diaries - reading about somebody else’s
experiences, be it fiction or autobiographic, makes the reader find
solace and gives a vision of possibilities. Reading can give help
in finding the right direction in difficult periods in an individual’s
life as well as in threatening or devastating political situations.
“Manarah” is Arabic and means
lighthouse. It also was used in the sense of signpost or road mark.
A more general meaning was “a place shedding light“.
“Manarah“ later developed into
the expression “minaret“, the tower like part of a mosque.
For this reason I choose “Manarah“
as the title for my new magazine presenting poetry and other writings,
as these writings will shed light, give hope, solace and perhaps
the missing hint on which direction to choose or better not follow.
Every issue of the magazine will deal with one subject. As in the
old Persian language, “divan“ is the expression for
a collection of poetry, every issue of the magazine “Manarah“
is a “Divan“, a collection of writings.
Both the idea for this magazine like work of art and the first three
issues of “Manarah“ were developed
with respect and as my contribution to An Inventory of Al-Mutanabbi
Street, in the year 2011. The bombing of al-Mutanabbi Street
in Baghdad in 2007 is only one of countless acts of violence Iraq
is going through since the beginning of war in 2003. This had vital
influence on the texts and themes I choose for the first three issues,
such were “War“, “Time“
and “Love“ presenting poems
that have been written over a period of four centuries. The writings
refer to thoughts and feelings of people going through wars that
might go on for an unknown or unforeseeable length of time and to
the hope that all violence and grief will sometime be overcome by
Annette C. Disslin